Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Risks of drinking Aloe Vera juice

Any Side Effects Of Aloe Vera Juice?

Aloe Vera is not without possible side effects. Reported side effects include allergic reactions, liver dysfunction, nausea, dermatitis and strangely colored urine.

However, these side effects are rare and may well be the result of drinking too much of the juice. It is unwise to drink Aloe Vera juice as if it were orange juice. If you stay to the recommended dose, you should be fine.

Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to any side effects and stop drinking the juice if you detect a reaction. Aloe Vera juice is not a magic potion or a cure-all.

Indications

Indications that you should avoid Aloe Vera are if you are pregnant or breast feeding, have kidney or heart disease, or are allergic to garlic or onions. It is also inadvisable to give Aloe Vera juice to children as they can experience toxic reactions.

For most people, the health benefits of Aloe Vera juice outweigh any risks, however it is important to use this supplement wisely and pay careful attention to your body’s responses to it.

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Dandelion - Taraxacum Officinale (Medicinal Herbs)

The Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale, Weber, T. Densleonis, Desf; Leontodon taraxacum, Linn.), though not occurring in the Southern Hemisphere, is at home in all parts of the north temperate zone, in pastures, meadows and on waste ground, and is so plentiful that farmers everywhere find it a troublesome weed, for though its flowers are more conspicuous in the earlier months of the summer, it may be found in bloom, and consequently also prolifically dispersing its seeds, almost throughout the year.

From its thick tap root, dark brown, almost black on the outside though white and milky within, the long jagged leaves rise directly, radiating from it to form a rosette Iying close upon the ground, each leaf being grooved and constructed so that all the rain falling on it is conducted straight to the centre of the rosette and thus to the root which is, therefore, always kept well watered. The maximum amount of water is in this manner directed towards the proper region for utilization by the root, which but for this arrangement would not obtain sufficient moisture, the leaves being spread too close to the ground for the water to penetrate.

The leaves are shiny and without hairs, the margin of each leaf cut into great jagged teeth, either upright or pointing somewhat backwards, and these teeth are themselves cut here and there into lesser teeth. It is this somewhat fanciful resemblance to the canine teeth of a lion that (it is generally assumed) gives the plant its most familiar name of Dandelion, which is a corruption of the French Dent de Lion, an equivalent of this name being found not only in its former specific Latin name Dens leonis and in the Greek name for the genus to which Linnaeus assigned it, Leontodon, but also in nearly all the languages of Europe.

There is some doubt, however, as to whether it was really the shape of the leaves that provided the original notion, as there is really no similarity between them, but the leaves may perhaps be said to resemble the angular jaw of a lion fully supplied with teeth. Some authorities have suggested that the yellow flowers might be compared to the golden teeth of the heraldic lion, while others say that the whiteness of the root is the feature which provides the resemblance. Flückiger and Hanbury in Pharmacographia, say that the name was conferred by Wilhelm, a surgeon, who was so much impressed by the virtues of the plant that he likened it to Dens leonis. In the Ortus Sanitatis, 1485, under 'Dens Leonis,' there is a monograph of half a page (unaccompanied by any illustration) which concludes:
'The Herb was much employed by Master Wilhelmus, a surgeon, who on account of its virtues, likened it to "eynem lewen zan, genannt zu latin Dens leonis" (a lion's tooth, called in Latin Dens leonis).'

In the pictures of the old herbals, for instance, the one in Brunfels' Contrafayt Kreuterbuch, 1532, the leaves very much resemble a lion's tooth. The root is not illustrated at all in the old herbals, as only the herb was used at that time.

The name of the genus, Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder), and akos (remedy), on account of the curative action of the plant. A possible alternative derivation of Taraxacum is suggested in The Treasury of Botany:
'The generic name is possibly derived from the Greek taraxo ("I have excited" or "caused") and achos (pain), in allusion to the medicinal effects of the plant.'

There are many varieties of Dandelion leaves; some are deeply cut into segments, in others the segments or lobes form a much less conspicuous feature, and are sometimes almost entire.

The shining, purplish flower-stalks rise straight from the root, are leafless, smooth and hollow and bear single heads of flowers. On picking the flowers, a bitter, milky juice exudes from the broken edges of the stem, which is present throughout the plant, and which when it comes into contact with the hand, turns to a brown stain that is rather difficult to remove.

Each bloom is made up of numerous strapshaped florets of a bright golden yellow. This strap-shaped corolla is notched at the edge into five teeth, each tooth representing a petal, and lower down is narrowed into a claw-like tube, which rests on the singlechambered ovary containing a single ovule. In this tiny tube is a copious supply of nectar, which more than half fills it, and the presence of which provides the incentive for the visits of many insects, among whom the bee takes first rank.

The Dandelion takes an important place among honey-producing plants, as it furnishes considerable quantities of both pollen and nectar in the early spring, when the bees' harvest from fruit trees is nearly over. It is also important from the beekeeper's point of view, because not only does it flower most in spring, no matter how cool the weather may be, but a small succession of bloom is also kept up until late autumn, so that it is a source of honey after the main flowers have ceased to bloom, thus delaying the need for feeding the colonies of bees with artificial food.

The blooms are very sensitive to weather conditions: in fine weather, all the parts are outstretched, but directly rain threatens the whole head closes up at once. It closes against the dews of night, by five o'clock in the evening, being prepared for its night's sleep, opening again at seven in the morning though as this opening and closing is largely dependent upon the intensity of the light, the time differs somewhat in different latitudes and at different seasons.

The young leaves of the Dandelion make an agreeable and wholesome addition to spring salads and are often eaten on the Continent, especially in France. The full-grown leaves should not be taken, being too bitter, but the young leaves, especially if blanched, make an excellent salad, either alone or in combination with other plants, lettuce, shallot tops or chives.

The young leaves may also be boiled as a vegetable, spinach fashion, thoroughly drained, sprinkled with pepper and salt, moistened with soup or butter and served very hot. If considered a little too bitter, use half spinach, but the Dandelion must be partly cooked first in this case, as it takes longer than spinach. As a variation, some grated nutmeg or garlic, a teaspoonful of chopped onion or grated lemon peel can be added to the greens when they are cooked. A simple vegetable soup may also be made with Dandelions.

The dried Dandelion leaves are also employed as an ingredient in many digestive or diet drinks and herb beers. Dandelion Beer is a rustic fermented drink common in many parts of the country and made also in Canada. Workmen in the furnaces and potteries of the industrial towns of the Midlands have frequent resource to many of the tonic Herb Beers, finding them cheaper and less intoxicating than ordinary beer, and Dandelion stout ranks as a favourite. An agreeable and wholesome fermented drink is made from Dandelions, Nettles and Yellow Dock.

In Berkshire and Worcestershire, the flowers are used in the preparation of a beverage known as Dandelion Wine. This is made by pouring a gallon of boiling water over a gallon of the flowers. After being well stirred, it is covered with a blanket and allowed to stand for three days, being stirred again at intervals, after which it is strained and the liquor boiled for 30 minutes, with the addition of 3 1/2 lb. of loaf sugar, a little ginger sliced, the rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon sliced. When cold, a little yeast is placed in it on a piece of toast, producing fermentation. It is then covered over and allowed to stand two days until it has ceased 'working,' when it is placed in a cask, well bunged down for two months before bottling. This wine is suggestive of sherry slightly flat, and has the deserved reputation of being an excellent tonic, extremely good for the blood.

The roasted roots are largely used to form Dandelion Coffee, being first thoroughly cleaned, then dried by artificial heat, and slightly roasted till they are the tint of coffee, when they are ground ready for use. The roots are taken up in the autumn, being then most fitted for this purpose. The prepared powder is said to be almost indistinguishable from real coffee, and is claimed to be an improvement to inferior coffee, which is often an adulterated product. Of late years, Dandelion Coffee has come more into use in this country, being obtainable at most vegetarian restaurants and stores. Formerly it used occasionally to be given for medicinal purposes, generally mixed with true coffee to give it a better flavour. The ground root was sometimes mixed with chocolate for a similar purpose. Dandelion Coffee is a natural beverage without any of the injurious effects that ordinary tea and coffee have on the nerves and digestive organs. It exercises a stimulating influence over the whole system, helping the liver and kidneys to do their work and keeping the bowels in a healthy condition, so that it offers great advantages to dyspeptics and does not cause wakefulness.

Medicinal Uses

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient. It is a general stimulant to the system, but especially to the urinary organs, and is chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders.

Dandelion is not only official but is used in many patent medicines. Not being poisonous, quite big doses of its preparations may be taken. Its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents.

The tincture made from the tops may be taken in doses of 10 to 15 drops in a spoonful of water, three times daily.

It is said that its use for liver complaints was assigned to the plant largely on the doctrine of signatures, because of its bright yellow flowers of a bilious hue.

In the hepatic complaints of persons long resident in warm climates, Dandelion is said to afford very marked relief. A broth of Dandelion roots, sliced and stewed in boiling water with some leaves of Sorrel and the yolk of an egg, taken daily for some months, has been known to cure seemingly intractable cases of chronic liver congestion.

A strong decoction is found serviceable in stone and gravel: the decoction may be made by boiling 1 pint of the sliced root in 20 parts of water for 15 minutes, straining this when cold and sweetening with brown sugar or honey. A small teacupful may be taken once or twice a day.

Dandelion is used as a bitter tonic in atonic dyspepsia, and as a mild laxative in habitual constipation. When the stomach is irritated and where active treatment would be injurious, the decoction or extract of Dandelion administered three or four times a day, will often prove a valuable remedy. It has a good effect in increasing the appetite and promoting digestion.

Dandelion combined with other active remedies has been used in cases of dropsy and for induration of the liver, and also on the Continent for phthisis and some cutaneous diseases. A decoction of 2 OZ. of the herb or root in 1 quart of water, boiled down to a pint, is taken in doses of one wineglassful every three hours for scurvy, scrofula, eczema and all eruptions on the surface of the body.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Comfrey - Symphytum Officinale (Medicinal Herbs)

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped white, cream, purple or pink flowers. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is widespread throughout the British Isles on river banks and ditches.

Comfrey has long been recognized by both organic gardeners and herbalists for its great usefulness and versatility; of particular interest is the "Bocking 14" cultivar of Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum). This strain was developed during the 1950s by Lawrence D Hills, the founder of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (the organic gardening organization itself named after the Quaker pioneer who first introduced Russian Comfrey into Britain in the 1910s) following trials at Bocking, near Braintree, the original home of the organization.

Other species include:

* Symphytum asperum, Prickly Comfrey, Rough Comfrey (synonym: S. asperrimum)
* Symphytum bulbosum, Bulbous Comfrey
* Symphytum caucasicum, Caucasian Comfrey
* Symphytum grandiflorum, Creeping Comfrey (synonym: S. ibericum)
* Symphytum orientale, White Comfrey
* Symphytum tauricum, Crimean Comfrey
* Symphytum tuberosum, Tuberous Comfrey
* Symphytum x uplandicum, Russian Comfrey, Healing Herb, Blackwort, Bruisewort, Wallwort, Gum Plant. (S. asperum x officinale, synonym: S. peregrinum)


Medicinal uses

Dorothy Hall writes that 'Russian comfrey and garlic could together, according to natural health usage, almost halve the present ills of western civilization' . An extravagant claim perhaps, but comfrey did indeed have a wealth of medicinal uses in bygone days. Contemporary herbalists view comfrey as an ambivalent and controversial herb that may offer therapeutic benefits but at the potential risk of liver toxicity.

One of its country names for comfrey was 'knitbone', a reminder of its traditional use in healing. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of bone ailments.

The herb contains allantoin, a cell proliferant that speeds up the natural replacement of body cells. Comfrey was used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions. It was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating 'many female disorders'. In past times comfrey baths were popular to repair the hymen and thus 'restore virginity'. Constituents of comfrey also include mucilage, steroidal saponins, tannins, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, inulin, vitamin B12 and proteins.

Internal usage of comfrey should be avoided because it contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) (Note, there are also non-hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.). Use of comfrey can, because of these PAs, lead to veno-occlusive disease (VOD). VOD can in turn lead to liver failure, and comfrey, taken in extreme amounts, has been implicated in at least one death. In 2001, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against internal usage of herbal products containing comfrey.

Excessive doses of Symphytine, one of the PAs in comfrey, may cause cancer in rats. This was shown by injection of the pure alkaloid. The whole plant has also been shown to induce precancerous changes in transgenic rats.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pomegranate Juice as natural Viagra

Did you know that there are so many natural herbs and fruits that are as good as Viagra or maybe better. Especially in some African countries where they have different types of these herbs to improve your sexual life.

Now we have pomegranate juice, nearly half the men who drank it for a month in the American study said they found it easier to rise to the occasion. It is thought the juice is rich in antioxidants which increase blood supply to the testicles.

Just like drugs for impotent, the antioxidants raise levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood-vessel walls.

Researcher Dr Christopher Forest, of the University of California in Los Angeles, said "Pomegranate juice has great potential in the management of erectile dysfunction."

Pomegranate have already been hailed a super fruit capable of reducing the risk of heart disease and preventing prostate cancer. The fruit is believed to have more antioxidants than any other juice, tea or red wine.

Pomegranate Fruit Facts


Medicinal properties:The pomegranate has been traditionally used as medicines in many countries.

Diarrhoea
Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhoea, and reduces some fevers.

Anti-parasites
The root bark is used to treat intestinal parasites, mainly tapeworm. The alkaloids narcotise the tapeworms so they lose their grip to the intestinal wall and are expelled. These alkaloids are also very toxic so they should not be used for self-medication.

Antioxidant
Pomegranate contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic and antifibrosis activity.

Skin Whitening
Studies have shown that ellagic acid can suppress UV-induced skin pigmentation when applied topically or when administered orally. Mineka Yoshimura and colleagues have shown in their study "Inhibitory Effect of an Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract on Tyrosinase Activity and UV-induced Pigmentation" (Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, 2005) that pomegranate extract has skin-whitening property. This effect was probably caused by the inhibition of proliferation of melanocytes and melanin synthesis.

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Bilberry - Vaccinium Myrtillus (Medicinal Herbs)

Bilberry is a name given to several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae) that bear tasty fruits. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., also known as European blueberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, whinberry (or winberry), myrtle blueberry, fraughan, and probably other names regionally.

The word bilberry is also sometimes used in the common names of other species of the genus, including Vaccinium uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry, bog huckleberry, northern bilberry), Vaccinium caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry), Vaccinium deliciosum Piper (Cascade bilberry), Vaccinium membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry, black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry), and Vaccinium ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leaved bilberry, mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).

Bilberries are found in damp, acidic soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. The easiest way to distinguish the bilberry is that it produces single or pairs of berries on the bush instead of clusters like the blueberry. Another way to distinguish them is that while blueberry fruit pulp is light green, bilberry is red or purple. In this way you can also distinguish the bilberry eater from the blueberry eater by his red fingers and lips. Bilberry is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Vaccinium.

Bilberries are seldom cultivated but fruits are sometimes collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands, notably in Fennoscandia, Scotland, Ireland and Poland. Note that in Fennoscandia, it is an everyman's right to collect bilberries, irrespective of land ownership. In Ireland the fruit is known as fraughan, from the Irish fraochán, and is traditionally gathered on the last Sunday in July, known as Fraughan Sunday.

Bilberries were also collected at Lughnassadh in August, the first traditional harvest festival of the year, as celebrated by the Gaelic people. The crop of bilberries was said to indicate how well the rest of the crops would fare in their harvests later in the year.

The fruits can be eaten fresh, but are more usually made into jams, fools, juices or pies. In France they are used as a base for liqueurs and are a popular flavouring for sorbets and other desserts. In Brittany they are often used as a flavouring for crêpes, and in the Vosges and the Massif Central bilberry tart (tarte aux myrtilles) is the most traditional dessert.

Medicinal uses


Often associated with improvement of night vision. Laboratory studies have shown that bilberry consumption can inhibit or reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration, but this therapeutic use remains clinically unproven.

As a deep blue fruit, bilberries contain dense levels of anthocyanin pigments that have been linked experimentally to lowered risk for several diseases, such as those of the heart and cardiovascular system, eyes and cancer.

In folk medicine, bilberry leaves were used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, applied topically or made into infusions. Such effects have not been proved scientifically.

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